The Lockheed Missiles Space Company, Sunnyvale, California has been selected for negotiation of contracts to design and manufacture new ocean survey satellite, called SEASAT-A, it was announced today by Dr. W. H. Pickering, Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. JPL will manage the project for NASA's Office of Applications.
Lockheed will provide the satellite bus, sensor module, satellite system engineering, and system test and mission operations services at cost of approximately 20 million dollars.
The first research and development oceanographic satellite, SEASAT-A is scheduled to be launched by an Atlas vehicle in the spring of 1978 from the Western Test Range near Lompoc, California.
The satellite, weighing approximately 4000 lbs., will be placed in near-polar orbit having an altitude of 480 miles. It will circle the Earth 14 times day covering 95% of the oceans each 36 hours.
Satellite sensors will provide radar images of waves and ice fields, determine the ocean topography, tides and currents, and measure wave heights, lengths and directions, sea surface winds and directions and sea surface temperatures. This first global scale observations of ocean surfaces is expected to contribute to better understanding of the oceans and the air/sea interface. The sensor complement consists of radar altimeter, synthetic aperture imaging radar, wind-field scatterometer, scanning multi-frequency microwave radiometer and visible and infrared scanning radiometer.
The objectives and instrumentation for the SEAST-A mission were developed with the participation of other government agencies, institutions, universities and commercial enterprises that have specific uses for ocean data.
SEASAT will by supported by aircraft, ships and buoys to verify the accuracy of the measurements from orbit.
Data acquisition will be the responsibility of the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
S. W. McCandless is the Program Manager for NASA. W. E. Giberson is Project Manager for JPL, and J. G. Gerpheide is the Satellite System Manager for JPL.
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